Sapphire braces differ from ordinary metal braces in that they are made of transparent single-crystal aluminum oxide, which is often called artificial sapphire. These braces are almost as strong as metal braces, but they are much more aesthetic and invisible on the teeth.
Despite the name, sapphire braces belong to the class of ceramic. All the difference between them lies in the fact that sapphire is made from monocrystalline alumina, and traditional ceramic - from polycrystalline alumina. Due to this, sapphire braces are transparent, and ceramic ones are white and opaque.
Sapphire braces: photo
The main brands of sapphire braces -
- braces "Inspire ICE" (USA),
- Braces "Radiance" (USA),
- braces "Damon clear" (USA).
Below we take a closer look at not only the pros and cons of sapphire brackets in general, but also compare these models of braces with each other.
Sapphire Braces -
The sapphire bracket system consists of three main elements: firstly, the sapphire plates that attach to the teeth (they are called brackets), secondly - a special metal arc connecting the braces to each other, and thirdly - the mechanism of fixing the arc to plates.
1. Sapphire braces plates -
In this case, artificially grown sapphires are used to make braces. They have properties similar to traditional ceramics: they do not change their color at all, they are not allergens, they have durability like that of a metal, but they also have a high transparency.
A big plus of sapphire braces is that they have a rounded cut. The streamlined shape allows the braces to less traumatize the mucous membrane of the lips and cheeks. A small minus of sapphire braces is that, in general, their size is slightly larger than that of metal braces.
Sapphire braces look best with people whose teeth have very light shades, and there is also a high transparency of the tooth enamel. If your teeth have a darkish color or with yellowness - in this case, optic ceramic braces are more suitable for you.
Transparent braces: photo Inspire-ICE, Radiance, Damon clear
2. Metal arc -
Curved metal arc passes through all braces, and is used to create effort to move the teeth. Unlike transparent sapphire braces, the arc will no longer be so inconspicuous, because it is made only from metal (Fig.10). However, if you pay the orthodontist, you can put an arc of a matte color, or an arc lined outside with a white composite mass (Fig.11).
Keep in mind that if you choose an arc lined with a composite, small chipping of the composite mass may occur at friction points of the arc over the brackets (with time), which may slightly worsen the arc invisibility.
3. The system of fixing the arc to the bracket -
There are 2 systems for fastening a metal arc to braces: first, using special ligatures (rubber rings or wires), and second, using special locking fasteners on the surface of braces (Fig. 12).
- Ligature fixation system -
of the above, this type includes brackets "Inspire ICE", "Radiance". In braces there is a groove in which a metal arc is inserted. In ligature braces, the arc is held in the groove using special ligatures. As ligatures, elastic bands or thin orthodontic wire are usually used (Fig. 13).
Elastic bands for fixing can be either colored, or white or transparent. If you like wine or strong tea, then light colored gum will gradually be painted, degrading the aesthetics. But you will be changing them once a month during a scheduled visit to an orthodontist for correcting braces.
- Ligature free fixation system -
of these, such braces include "Damon clear". As the name implies - for fixing the arc ligatures are not used here. On the surface of such braces there is a lock that snaps into place after the introduction of a metal arc into the groove of the bracket (Fig. 12, 14). Braces of this design are called unligated or self-ligating.
Usually this type of braces is more expensive. It must be said that orthodontists (who benefit from more expensive solutions) and manufacturers of braces have merged in ecstasy, and vigorously advertise and present a ligature type of braces as a modern solution that is much more effective than ordinary ligature braces, which is not quite true to say the least.
Sapphire braces: reviews
By their advantages and disadvantages, sapphire braces are 100% similar to ceramic braces. And we will now list the pros and cons, which equally apply to ligature and unligated sapphire braces.
1) Benefits -
- made of beautiful translucent material
- barely visible on the teeth near (not visible in the distance and in the photos),
- rounded outlines of braces less traumatize the mucous membrane.
Important: translucent sapphire braces are the best choice only if you have very bright teeth. If the teeth are darkish or yellow, then opaque braces from traditional ceramics will look better on the teeth.
2) The disadvantages of sapphire braces -
it is quite clear that cons will be cost, as well as the fact that when using ligatures - light colored gum can gradually be painted, degrading the aesthetics. But this is not serious. There are more serious flaws, which are usually not written in advertising articles on the sites of dental clinics.
- Treatment with sapphire braces will be longer -
This item refers mainly to unlippable sapphire braces only. The fact is that the lock fastenings of such braces are more vulnerable to breakage if they experience a heavy load. Therefore, orthodontists use less strain on the teeth with such braces, and this lengthens the treatment time.
- Greater soft tissue injury -
All ceramic and sapphire braces are significantly larger than modern metal braces. This applies especially to unlippable sapphire brackets, which have a complex locking mechanism on their surface, which must be made stronger by the thickness of the material. This increases irritation of the mucous membrane of the lips and cheeks.
- The possibility of breakage -
in sapphire ligature braces there is practically nothing to break, however, in the ligature sapphire braces it is possible that the locking mechanism may break if too much force is applied to the braces. Broken braces will need to be replaced in this case.
Comparison of advantages and disadvantages of all types of braces -
If you evaluate ceramic braces - reviews by orthodontists and patients agree that these braces are almost as strong and reliable as metal ones, but they are much more invisible on teeth. The main differences in consumer properties of different types of braces, see the table.
|Sapphire / Ceramic Braces||Metal braces||Lingual braces|
|Frequency of visits to the orthodontist||1 time in 1-2 months||1 time in 1-2 months||as needed|
|quick adaptation||quick adaptation||heavy adaptation|
|Treatment price||high||moderate to high||extremely high|
You can learn more about other types of braces, pitfalls in choosing braces from different manufacturers, whether it is worth paying for modern models of braces - you can from the articles:
→ "How to choose braces? Analysis of metal braces",
→ "Comparison of lingual braces models",
→ "Comparison of models of ceramic braces".
Comparison of sapphire braces among themselves -
As you already understood: unligated braces like "Damon clear" are more vulnerable, cost more, and treatment with them will last a little longer and, moreover, they injure mucous lips and cheeks a little more. And what about the efficiency of moving teeth? How much will these more expensive braces be better than ligature sapphire braces?
According to manufacturers, ligature braces allow -
- it is possible to go to the orthodontist for correction much less frequently,
- there is a higher efficiency of tooth movement,
- the movement of teeth is carried out using so-called "lesser forces", which causes less ischemia of the bone around the tooth and the risk of complications.
Denial of exclusivity unligature braces -
The type of fixation of the arc to the bracket can be either active or passive. The active type of fixation is when the arc is very tightly fixed in the groove of the bracket, and cannot slide in it (Fig. 16). The passive type of fixation is when the arc is only retained in the groove (loose contact), and therefore it can slide freely in the bracket's groove (Fig. 17).
In the process of orthodontic treatment, one or the second type of fixation is periodically used. This is due to the fact that when correcting different inclinations and turns of teeth, different occlusions, to expand the dentition, it is optimal to use different types of fixation of the arc in the groove of the bracket, constantly changing them - from one to another.
When using ligature braces, you can simply change the type of fixation: for example, simply relaxing a tightly-tightened metal ligature (or vice versa). But when using unligated braces such will not be possible, because there is a castle that can be exclusively -
1) or with an active type of fixation (the arc is tight in the groove and does not slip),
2) or with a passive type of fixation (the arc slides freely in the groove, and the lock simply prevents it from falling out of the bracket).
findings: The ligature type of braces is the most optimal for any patient, since makes it easy to change system settings. And, by the way, this is why this system has fewer complications, since with ligature braces, the orthodontist simply cannot change the type of fixation, when it actually needs to be done according to the laws of biomechanics, and therefore all treatment often goes through one place.
As for the claims of orthodontists (who, apparently, do not indulge themselves in reading independent research, but derive information only from the promotional materials of the manufacturers) that "less strength" is used in non-ligature braces, since In these brackets, the friction between the arc and the groove of the bracket is less ... So, independent research completely refutes this.
The frictional force of the arc in the groove is almost the same in ligature and non-ligature braces. Below is a link to the professional medical international edition (refereed) with the results of a study on this topic: "Maxillary canine retraction with self-ligating and conventional brackets." The Angle Orthodontist: March 2011, (vol. 81, No. 2, pp. 292-297).
Sapphire braces: price 2019
On sapphire braces - the cost in different clinics may differ markedly, which depends not only on the chosen brand of braces, but also on the price policy of the clinic, as well as on the level of the doctor’s qualifications. The set of services, which is included in the specified cost, has a great influence. For example, the cost of a retainer (which is worn after removing the braces) is approximately 16,000 rubles, but it may or may not be included in the price.
1) Cost of consultation and diagnostics -
- consultation of the orthodontist - free of charge,
- diagnostics (taking impressions, making and analyzing gypsum diagnostic models of the jaws, analyzing orthopantomograms, calculating TRG, drawing up a treatment plan) - about 1,600 rubles.
Below, we calculated the average cost of sapphire brackets in Moscow, which already includes installation of braces on 2 jaws, retainer, all work on fixation and removal (error of ± 10 000 rubles).
2) Sapphire Braces: Price
- braces "Inspire ICE" - price 150 000 rub.
- Braces "Radiance" - the price is 160 000 rubles.
- braces "Damon clear" - price 160 000 rubles.
3) A correction session (done once a month) costs about 2,000 to 2,500 rubles.
An interesting fact: the cost of one brace "Inspire-ICE" for dentistry is only 1500 rubles, the braces "Damon clear" and "Radiance" - 2100 rubles (20-22 braces are usually put on 2 jaws). The rest is the cost of the services of the doctor and the clinic surcharge.
Author: dentist Kamensky K.V., 19 years experience.